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OminousLatinChanting

Spooky, isn't it?

Somewhere over the past few centuries, Latin became the "ominous" language. Maybe it's the fact that it's the language of a once mighty civilization from over a thousand years ago. Maybe it's because it's also the traditional language of the Roman Catholic Church, and thus associated with divine power, spirituality, mystery, death, and Dark Age Europe. And from there it's only a hop, skip, and a jump to the idea of magic -- often bad magic.[1] And then there's the music with which Latin is often associated -- for example, the unique sounds of the Gregorian chant -- which can sound decidedly sombre, even spooky to a modern ear. Latin choirs also have those distinctive "ooh", "aah" and "ooo" sounds, rising powerfully and falling dramatically.

So whenever you hear a choir singing in Latin, especially when paired with Orchestral Bombing, it means that something EPIC is going on (even when it's not). This association is so strong that this trope is extremely common in movie trailers; Hollywood will tell you that nothing says "watch this movie" more than choir chants in a language most viewers don't know, and that this is the way to give a scene that extra bit of ominous importance.

The actual meaning of the words is unimportant. They could be singing Latin nursery rhymes (or reading from a Roman phone book) for all we know; it's the sound that matters. Bonus points if the lyrics and/or tune are reminiscent of or outright stolen from Carl Orff's Carmina Burana, especially "O Fortuna". Most of the lyrics of Carmina Burana are secular poems from the Middle Ages about life, death, drinking, and sex that were often sung by the Medieval equivalent of frat boys -- but they're in Latin, so that makes them awesome. The lyrics in "O Fortuna," however, are genuinely ominous. (Well, either that, or it's a college student complaining about how life isn't fair. Take your pick.) Another famous one is Dies Irae, whose lyrics are genuinely ominous.

This is apparently universal. It makes sense, given that Latin would be more or less as unrecognizable to Japanese or Swahili speaker as it would to an English speaker, although it would probably be recognizable to a romance language speaker.

Latin is probably the most familiar dead language due to its being the ancestor of modern Romance languages (even though English is a Germanic language, it still has a high proportion of Latin influence, mostly through French and science), and its prominence and impact on modern culture make it easy to fact-check. Nevertheless, Ancient Greek, Sanskrit, and others are sometimes used to similar effect. Eastern-style chanting is also having a surge in popularity, possibly due to the increase in stories featuring conflicts between Eastern and Western worlds. Creators that went to the trouble of inventing their own language for a work will likely find a way to feature it in this manner too. There's also a chance that the music only reminds one of ominous Latin chanting, opting to use "ooh", "aah", "ooo", and the like.

If one wants to be extremely pedantic, the vast majority of the examples stated here aren't actually chant at all, being settings of the text in musical instead of speech rhythms. Mind you, "Ominous Latin Singing" just doesn't have the same ring to it.[2]

If the creators are particularly clever, the chanting will include a Bilingual Bonus. Compare Cherubic Choir and the One-Woman Wail. See also Black Speech for the ear shattering version. Often a part of Orchestral Bombing and Religious Horror. May involve Ominous Pipe Organ. Comic versions might include Canis Latinicus instead. See also Creepy Children Singing, where creepy songs and nursery rhymes are played in the background to add tension and fear to a scene.

Plenty of the examples that follow have earned places on the Crowning Music of Awesome page in case you feel like listening to them.

Examples of Ominous Latin Chanting include:


Advertising

  • The overuse of "O Fortuna" -- particularly for huge, sprawling period epic war footage -- was splendidly mocked in this advertisement for the Australian beer Carlton Draught.
  • In Britain, "O Fortuna" was used for an advert for Old Spice aftershave... and a parody of that advert many years later for Carling Black Label lager...
  • It also appears in a commercial for Rickard's Red beer, albeit with English lyrics praising the beer. Nevertheless, it's sung by an ominous red-robed choir that appears out of nowhere whenever someone orders the brand. A similar Rickard's commercial uses the above-mentioned "O Fortuna" from Carmina Burana.
  • This National Guard ad starts off with Ominous Latin Chanting, but then switches to Ominous English Chanting. Let's just say that it doesn't have quite the same effect as Ominous Latin Chanting.
  • Used a lot in trailers. There are companies whose main occupation is to supply trailer music for certain previews. Immediate Music's Fury Unleashed (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8A11IlBjePI ), With an Iron Fist (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wlOhC1MiVTQ ) and Confronting the Dark Lord (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ocDvZ3tfDBw ) are particularly guilty of this trope. The more epic chorus and chanting, the better.
  • A now disappeared but certainly well remembered channel in Latin America, Locomotion, used to feature epic commercials for its series, basically animation for grownups. A legendary one was the one made for Evangelion. Enjoy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bBHZ_fN3ljo&feature=related


Anime & Manga

  • The primary battle theme from Vision of Escaflowne is the imposing, "O Fortuna"-inspired "Dance of Curse". At around the halfway mark, "Dance of the Curse" finds itself supplanted by the even more ominous and imposing "Epistle" as the primary battle theme. The fact that this is around the point where the battles get increasingly hellish and violent is probably not coincidence.
  • When the Church Choir in Noir starts up, rest assured that many, many people are going to die. (Specifically, the songs "Salva Nos" and "Canta Per Me". The later is Ominous Italian Chanting. Les Soldats, played at the start of every episode to accompany one of the female characters reciting one of three different versions of the Noir prayer, is also particularly ominous, considering it's the Leitmotif of an Ancient Conspiracy.
  • Many themes from Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle, although the chanting isn't actually in Latin. The language is actually one Yuki Kajiura made up (Kajiuran?). Kajiura does, however, have some songs written in Spanish, Italian, and other European languages. Regardless of language, she certainly incorporates ominous chanting.
  • Hellsing has the utterly terrifying Gradus Vita. The anime version of Hellsing includes Incognito performing a mock Latin-like chant to summon the Egyptian God of Chaos, Sett, to London.
  • The opening theme for Elfen Lied, "Lilium" is Latin with Greek touches, done in a Gregorian chant style. It sets the tone for the anime, which is similarly bleak, sombre, and spooky. The theme is a One-Woman Wail, but the song also appears in other scenes, such as next episode previews, sung by a male voice choir that sounds more Gregorian. There is a Theme Tune Cameo in the form of a music box, giving it yet another different sound.
  • Keroro Gunsou parodies this; ominous Latin chanting comes up whenever Angol Moa uses her Armageddon Attack (even at one one-trillionth power).
  • Revolutionary Girl Utena features quite a bit of strange, baroque music, but saves its Latin chanting for when the villain of the Black Rose Saga is recruiting.
  • Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu
    • Not even a (mostly) humorous series like this one is immune, as a choral score accompanied the climactic "final" episode. For a Bilingual Bonus, it's an ode to the creator of the universe.
    • Also, the episode where Koizumi shows the Celestial to Kyon is accompanied with a gregorian chant where the lyrics contain mostly the phrase "Kyrie eleison" ("Lord, have mercy" in greek). Quite fitting.
    • The Movie of the fourth novel, Disappearance, turns this on soon after a minute or two of Quieter Than Silence (the conflict itself seemed over anyway), when Asakura stabs Kyon in the waist. Listen to Rikishi no Tenkan Ten here. It starts off a bit slow, but 10 seconds in, things go insanely awesome. Like, Final Fantasy One-Winged Angel awesome.
  • The Ah! My Goddess movie had the world rebuilt to Latin choral music ostensibly sung by the three Norns(!).
  • Death Note simply loves Ominous Latin Chanting, frequently employing it to make the act of writing a name in a notebook epic. Of course, whoever's name is written in the notebook will die 40 seconds later, so it is kind of an ominous moment when Light puts a name down. In fact, many of the epic Latin pieces in Death Note have the lyrics of a Latin requiem mass. The song that plays during the four-and-a-half-year timeskip montage, for instance, is a Dies Irae, which is about Judgement Day, fitting how Light imposes Judgement on criminals and the rotten (though somehow, it doesn't include the "liber scriptus" verse). Even in the more calm moments you have the Kyrie Eleison chant, which may as well be the anime's theme.
  • Evangelion
    • The music of Rebuild of Evangelion (the remake of Neon Genesis Evangelion) sounds like this at first, but then we realize it's Ominous English Chanting done in a way that it sounds like Ominous Latin. It goes even further, with both a remake of "Angel Attack" and a new song played during the attack on Ramiel containing epic amounts of Ominous English Chanting, with some of it being pretty creepy for Western audiences too.
    • Rebuild 2.0 goes absolutely crazy with this, having no fewer than seven songs played during Angel attacks with Ominous English Chanting. The lyrics range from Narm to orrifying.

 "The war to end all wars is here... the air is filled with heavy fear... humanity is disappearing; suffering as millions see slaughter... this is the final showdown. There will be no tomorrow."

    • "Escape to the Beginning" from The End of Evangelion. It only plays during the beginning of the end of the world! If one manages to find the lyrics (which isn't easy), they're actually quite appropriate, as well.
    • Not really an example of Ominous Latin, but in the original series, Handel's "Hallelujah" chorus plays during the fifteenth Angel's psychic attack on Asuka. It's sort of implied that the music is actually part of the attack. It is a rare example of Ominous English Chanting.
    • There's also Ominous German Chanting in episode 24, even though the lyrics themselves ("Ode to Joy") are anything but ominous in German.
      • Indeed, it foreshadows Instrumentality.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!
    • The summoning of the Egyptian God card "Winged Dragon of Ra" required Ominous Egyptian Chanting to do properly. The Dub replaced this with Ominous... English Rhyme?
    • Also, the music that accompanied the summoning of God Cards (and other particularly important scenes) in the Japanese version was replaced with Ominous Latin Chanting.
  • The 9th episode (third part of the "King of Swords" arc) of the Yami no Matsuei (Descendants of Darkness) animated series features an elegiac choir or male and female voices singing in Italian.
  • Mai-HiME
    • Half of the Mai-Otome soundtrack consists of Latin-sounding gibberish chanting (by an all-female choir), mostly during tense, dramatic moments -- and the Magical Girl Transformation Sequence. This also shows up in Mai-HiME, particularly in Mezame and its various rearrangements/remixes.
    • The Play Station 2/PC game for Mai-HiME has one track ("Fortuna" by Yousei Teikoku) that comes surprisingly close to averting this, though -- its lyrics are mainly a smattering of quotes from classical Latin writers, particularly Virgil and Seneca, with classical rather than ecclesiastical pronunciation to boot. Taken as a whole it still doesn't make a lot of sense, but each individual line is perfectly legitimate Latin.
  • Then there's the Read or Die movie, in which the threat is Ominous German Chanting via Clone Beethoven's Suicide Symphony.
  • Lots of Kenji Kawai soundtracks feature Ominous Japanese Chanting, most notably in his soundtracks for Ghost in the Shell and Innocence. And also Torukia from Stand Alone Complex.
  • Shinn Asuka's personal battle theme in Gundam Seed Destiny, "Dark Energy", uses Ominous Latin Chanting; before fans knew the real name, they called it "the Evil Monk Chorus Song". Contrast with Kira Yamato's theme, which uses the One-Woman Wail.
  • Giant Robo: The Animation not only features Dies Irae as background music for The Reveal of the Big Bad's secret weapon, but it also has Ominous Opera Singing: the leitmotif for the various and varying flashbacks to the "Tragedy of Bashtalle" is an arrangement of "Una Furtiva Lagrima" from the opera L'elisir d'amore.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann has the unusual variation of Badass Latin Chanting. Super Galaxy Gurren Lagann and Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann's theme music is a One-Woman Wail version of Libera Me mixed with the Hot-Blooded rap song that was earlier used as Kamina's theme in the Recap Episode and they together are called Libera Me From Hell.
  • Another example of Badass Latin Chanting is To Aru Majutsu no Index which likes to mix chanting and techno music when a serious fight is going on; quite suitably as the series is about a cold war between science and magic/religion but damn if it's not Crazy Awesome. Case in point: Tsuki Genten, first played when Touma faces off with and beats the crap out of Biaggio who's a bishop. Quite an ironic choice of music...
  • Bleach
    • Put to good use in when the 5th Espada, Nnoitora, releases his Zanpakuto. He yells his release phrase, and the wind starts blowing, all while the Ominous English Chanting choir goes nuts. The song is called "Treachery."
    • Episode 226 ended with Ominous English Chanting while Ichigo fights Ulquiorra. The song in this case is "Stand up be strong (part 1). There's "Part 2" too, of course. And another piece worth noticing is "Invasion", played when Mayuri releases his Bankai against Szayelaporro. Noticeably, all of this music comes from the original Bleach Movie OSTs.
    • "Treachery" and "Invasion" were played during the final battle of "The Diamond Dust Rebellion", while "Stand up be strong" comes from "Fade to Black."
    • The entirety of Movie 4 "Hell Verse" is full of remixes of instrumental tracks that appeared earlier in the series, now complete with full orchestras and Ominous English Chanting that references images of hell, angels, demons, and torment... not a big surprise given what the movie is about. These tracks began to appear in the anime episodes at the very end of the Aizen battle. "Cometh the Hour (part A)." The first of the new ost to be unveiled rather anti-climatically plays As Aizen looses his god form and is subdued, though he's screaming so I guess that's kind of ominous
  • Sengoku Basara
  • Several dramatic instances in Gunslinger Girl were punctuated by Ominous Italian(?) Chanting, such as Henrietta's Unstoppable Rage in the first episode. Also, The Reveal Flash Back depicting Elsa committing murder-suicide strikes a bonus for having some Ominous Pipe Organ at the start of the piece.
  • "Jigoku Rock" (from the Ironic Hell sequences) from the Hell Girl OST mixes this with... well... rock music...
  • This kind of music accompanies just about any scene involving Britannian royalty or the Emperor in Code Geass. In fairness, it's not actually Latin -- if you listen closely, the lyrics are actually in English. Still, it certainly qualifies as ominous chanting. Only in Code Geass can they make you think Gratuitous English to be Gratuitous Latin. And, given the history of its Earth...
  • The first episode of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood starts up the chanting when Frost Alchemist Isaac MacDougal figures out that Ed and Al attempted human transmutation and ends soon after the Führer slices him up into chunks. Specifically, "Lapis Philosophorum". There's also Latin singing in "Trisha's Lullaby", but it's more nostalgic than ominous.
  • Naruto
    • Akatsuki has a theme that carries the effect nicely.
    • And now we have the unearthly track Girei, the only possible theme for Akatsuki's leader, the godlike Pain[3]. Yet another example of Ominous English Chanting.
    • Also Orochimaru's theme/the epic fight music, although the chanting aspect is hard to hear or doesn't kick in until well after the fight and/or plot point is over (the 2 and a half to 3 minute mark).
    • Whenever Hidan's fear level goes up some sort of ominous chanting starts (with screams of pain in the background). When aided by Hidan's shrieking it gives goosebumps.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima
    • What little we saw of the Negi vs. Chao Lingshen battle in the Mahou Sensei Negima ~Ala Alba~ OAD was accompanied with this.
    • Negima literally runs on Ominous Latin Chanting, and we do mean literally; nearly all the spells are activated by an incantation in either Latin or Ancient Greek. Supplementary materials usually give the translations of these incantations, and they actually manage to retain some ominousness even in English/Japanese.
  • The intro to the Umineko no Naku Koro ni anime is rife with ominous Italian chanting. While likely unintentional, the song's name, "One-Winged Bird", immediately bring to mind a certain other famous Latin-chanting theme of ominousness. From the visual novel, one of the game's soundtracks, sy, does have ominous Latin chanting. The phrase is "Dominus mā in dictorē astent in dictorum" (my God stands against the speaker in declaration). There is actually a few latin words interjected in the italian chanson.
  • The intros to Higurashi no Naku Koro ni feature ominous backwards Japanese chanting.
  • Soul Eater has a few tracks that involve ominous chanting for fight scenes, specifically against the Big Bad, although it's tough to tell what language is being chanted. "Salve Maria/(Peace Be With You)" sounds like it may be Spanish rather than Latin, but either way it has a rather depressing, haunting feel to it (which fits well with the character it's often played for).
  • Pumpkin Scissors features ominous German chanting "Töten Sie sie!" ("kill them") whenever the main character activates his Lantern.
  • Yoku Wakaru Gendai Mahou has this as background music whenever a fight or something juicy is going on.
  • "Grain," the opening theme of Monster.
  • Tokyo Mew Mew has not quite so Ominous chanting during the Christmas episode where Kish finally realizes that Ichigo will never be by his side.
  • A staple of the Genesis of Aquarion soundtrack, particularly when Shadow Angels are involved.
  • Frieza gets a nice theme song in Dragon Ball Kai that includes Ominous Japanese Chanting in its intro.
  • GaoGaiGar gives us Beautiful Wings of Light, the theme of Soldat J, which plays during several of his [CMoAs], including his introduction and Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Happens on The Legend of Koizumi, sung by a choir of children during the Pope's introductory Crowning Moment of Awesome: "Fiat Lux!" "Dixitque Deus!".
    • Coincidentally, a different "Fiat Lux" is used in the Tales of Symphonia OVA. Given what is happening while she sings, and knowing the context behind both the song and her ability to perform it, crosses over into Tear Jerker territory. Fiat Lux.
  • Witch Hunter Robin also features some chanting on its soundtrack. The chanting on "SOLOMON" is hard to decipher, and could just be nonsense words, but they do have a Kyrie (technically, ominous Greek chanting) that sounds absolutely amazing.
  • Gunnm, while being a manga series still fits the trope, as the Den's attack on the Scrapyard in the end of the original series is set to the lyrics of "O Fortuna".
  • The Wangan Midnight anime has Voices of S30Z the theme song of the the ominously named Devil Z, fitting since the car is not only the fastest on Tokyo's Wangan-sen, but also one of the dealiest to it's drivers (all previous owners had died in crashes, yet the car survives and continues to run). Later on, the song gets used for just about every major high powered car in the series.
  • Noein makes heavy use of Ominous Latin Chanting, mostly in the bombastic themes relating to the hellish dimension Shangri La.
  • Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica has some Ominous Latin Chanting, to make sure the titles are also in Latin. One is Mami's transformation scene, Sayaka's and the other... Well the title says all.
  • Record of Lodoss War: Okoreru Kyousenshi/An Angered Berseker.
  • Kamichama Karin: Zeus no Yubiwa/The Ring of Zeus.
  • There is some on the Saint Beast OVA soundtrack mixing up the Sanctus and some other gratuitous latin.
  • The Fate/Zero soundtrack also has many tracks with latin chanting like Point Zero or The battle of the Strong.
  • Tegami Bachi occasionally uses a music cue that resembles it.


Comic Books


Fan Works

  • Kingdom Hearts fanfic Those Lacking Spines played this trope for laughs when the sinister Jeffiroth made his appearance to thwart our heroes, accompanied by an orchestra and choir that had basically appeared from nowhere and a helicopter airdropping Nobuo Uematsu to direct them both in a parody of "One-Winged Angel".
  • "O Fortuna" is the title theme to AMV Hell 1.
  • Invoked by name in this fan compilation.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Abridged Series
    • The series has its own lyrics for "Ave Satani" as the Bakura Show theme song:

 It's The -- Bakura Show -- He Is -- Evil -- He's So Evil -- He Once Killed -- A Puppy -- It Was Cute

    • The eight episode also played it for Bakura's first major appearance, with each statement followed by chanting to emphasize how Obviously Evil he was.
    • "O Fortuna" was used to foretell the coming of Yu-Gi-Oh 5D's.
    • In episode 45 just before the epic duel between Bakura and Melvin, we get some Ominous Brooklyn Chanting, followed by some actual chanting during the credits
  • Used to great effect by the doujin circle WAVE.


Films -- Animation

  • The soundtrack to the film Akira contains a great deal of ominous chanting, but most of it is in barely-intelligible Japanese. Nemure, AKIRA, nemure... At the end, though, in that track they actually do use Latin as well.
  • Princess Mononoke has Ominous Japanese Chanting in the tune "The World of the Dead", which plays when the Forest Spirit's death goop is covering everything.
  • The Ghost in the Shell films make heavy use of Ominous Japanese Chanting -- an antequated form of Japanese, no less.
  • In the trailer of the South Park movie, "O Fortuna" plays as the boys see Cartman's mom on the cover of "Crack Whore Magazine."
  • Darla Dimple's Battle Butler Max gets an ominous chanting to accompany his wall-smashing entrance in Cats Don't Dance -- as though the red-tint, and the screaming reactions from the crew wasn't enough to show that Max is one scary dude. If you listen closely, it sounds like the chorus may be ominously repeating what was just said. "How does the kitty-cat go?" And Darla herself gets some as background in "Big and Loud".
  • In Madagascar 2, animals chant in Swahili/distorted English as they try to coax Melman into killing himself to appease the gods.
  • The Ralph Bakshi cartoon version of The Lord of the Rings strangely uses ominous gibberish with the words "Isengard" and "Mordor" peppered in, rather than actually use any Tolkien language.
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Considering the setting it's unsurprising that a lot of the background score is based on Old-World church music, but the Latin vocals only make an appearance when someone's about to find themselves in serious trouble. Some awesome Bilingual Bonus within:
    • Non confundar in aeternum (Let me not be damned for eternity -- during Esmeralda's execution as a witch)
    • Libera me Domine de morte aeterna (Free me, Lord, from everlasting death)/ In die illa tremenda (On that terrible day)/ Quando caeli movendi sunt (When the heavens shall be moved)/ Caeli et terra (The heavens and earth)/ Dum veneris judicare (When Thou shalt come to judge)/ Saeculum per ignem (the world by fire -- during Quasimodo's breaking free of the chains)
    • Sit sempiterna gloria (May glory be eternal)/ Gloria, gloria semper (Glory, glory forever)/ Sanctus, sanctus in excelsis (Holy, holy, in the highest -- when Quasimodo climbs the cathedral and claims sanctuary for Esmeralda)
    • Quem patronum rogaturus (To what protector shall I appeal)/ Cum vix justus sit securus? (When scarcely the just man shall be secure? -- when Phoebus leads the charge toward the cathedral.) These lines (and the lines in the entry below) come from the well-known 13th century Gregorian chant "Dies Irae" (Day of Wrath).
    • Confutatis maledictis (When the accursed shall be cast down)/ Flammis acribus addictis (Given to the searing flames -- when Frollo is about to fall off of Notre Dame; Frollo actually quotes this line in English just before falling, too, albeit not in those exact words)
    • More examples can be found in the lyrics to "The Bells of Notre Dame" (Latin chanting during Frollo's chase describes the "day of trembling" when "the Judge is come,") and Frollo's Villain Song, "Hellfire."
    • Very cleverly used in "Hellfire". The interlude between Quasimodo's "Heaven's Light" and Frollo's "Hellfire" is an excerpt from Confiteor, a Latin prayer for confessions of sin. The Confiteor continues into "Hellfire", offering some intentional irony in the first few lines of the song. Most notably, when Frollo tries to claim innocence for his lustful thoughts:

 Frollo: It's not my fault!

Choir: Mea culpa ([It is] My fault)

Frollo: I'm not to blame!

Choir: Mea culpa ([It is] My fault)

Frollo: It was that gypsy girl, that witch who sent this flame!

Choir: Mea maxima culpa ([It is] My most grievous fault)

    • One of the primary "dark/ominous" motifs in the film uses the phrase Kyrie eleison ("Lord, have mercy") -- technically Ominous Greek Chanting, but the effect is the same. Of note is that the movie practically makes this phrase into Frollo's Leitmotif.
    • And, appropriately to the movie, most of these lines come from the Requiem Mass. "Libera Me" comes from the poem of the same name; the latter two come from "Dies Irae", which is not so much ominous as outright terrifying. See for yourself: "Libera Me".
  • The Pixar short film "Jack-Jack Attack" on The Incredibles DVD makes use of "Dies Irae".
  • It is also included within Hans Zimmer's score for the wildebeest stampede and Mufasa's death scene in The Lion King. For bonus points, this same score (titled "To Die For...") also includes excerpts of Mozart's Requiem when Simba finds his father's body. The only thing The Lion King lacks is actual Ominous Latin Chanting -- there's plenty of Zulu chanting but it's hardly ominous (except perhaps the Zulu which is set to the "Dies Irae").
  • The opening credits of Batman: Mask of the Phantasm are accompanied by Ominous Chanting to the tune of Shirley Walker's memorable B:TAS theme. The chorus, once again, is actually chanting the last names of production team members backwards.
  • An even more intense version of Mozart's "Mass in C Minor -- Kyrie" plays during the impressive storm at sea scene in The Triplets of Belleville.
  • The Prince of Egypt
    • The chanting's in English, not Latin, but that doesn't stop the chorus in "Plagues" and their description of what God's gonna do to the Egyptians from being scary as hell. When they say that the pestilence won't stop "until you break/until you yield," you believe it.

 Chorus: "I send the swarm/I send the horde!"/Thus saith the Lord!

    • The number "Playing With the Big Boys Now", starts with Ramses' priests Hotep and Hoi(Steve Martin and Martin Short)(?) chanting the names of various Egyptian deities. The chanting can be heard later in the background.
  • Brother Bear has the equally ominous, joyful (yes, you can be ominous and joyful at the same time) and awesome "Transformation." Not Latin -- Inuit!
  • You know what goes well with chanting? Conlang! So Atlantis: The Lost Empire naturally had some ominous chanting in Atlantean.

 Naseithi basathos...

Nasani batha

Harutani strata

Nasetani kataan

Haanathaa Atland

Naseitha sethos

Haretana sanaalan!

  • The 2009 animated Fantastic Mr. Fox featured a chorus in the final action scenes, chanting a limerick about the villains:

 Chorus: Boggis, Bunce, and Bean / One fat, one short, one lean / These horrible crooks / So different in looks / Were nonetheless equally mean.


Films -- Live-Action

  • John Williams' now-classic "Duel of the Fates" from the Star Wars saga is the Molto vivace from Dvorak's New World Symphony, with the lyrics consisting of a Gaelic poem sung in Sanskrit. Apparently it's about trees going to war or something. Williams admitted that the lyrics have no intended meaning, they just sound cool. Williams repeated his success in Episode III with "Battle of the Heroes".
    • The Sanskritified lyrics come from the artistic-license-tastic translation of an old Gaelic poem, The Battle of the Trees, as done by Robert Graves for his book The White Goddess: "Under the tongue root a fight most dread/And another raging behind, in the head."
  • Mozart's Dies Irae is used in this film version of Doom - Repercussions of Evil.
  • The Omen used "Ave Satani", an original piece inspired by "O Fortuna" as the theme for the young antichrist Damien. It's a a dark inversion of Schubert's uplifting "Ave Maria".
  • Spoofed in the Jackass film, where "O Fortuna" plays during the intro, which consists of the cast members careening down a street in an oversized shopping cart with rocks being shot at them.
  • Spoofed in Hot Fuzz, just like everything else. Word of God states the words are "bonum commune communitatis," "for the greater good of the community."
  • Sergei Eisenstein's Alexander Nevsky is perhaps the original instance. The Teutonic Knights are accompanied by an ominous Latin chorus, which rises in a crescendo during the battle scene. This made sense because the Teutons were evil Catholics fighting the goodguy Eastern Orthodox Russians in the highly propagandistic film. Prokofiev's film music for this sounds similar enough to "O Fortuna" that it may have inspired the use of Orff's Carmina Burana in movies. (The Orff piece was written earlier -- by one year.) The chanted words: "Peregrinus expectavi pedes meos in cymbalis" themselves are snipped from Stravinsky's A Symphony of Psalms. Prokofiev, however, evidently realized no-one in the audiences would know Latin, because the words are randomly chosen from the Psalms, and literally mean, when read as one sentence: "I as a stranger awaited my feet on cymbals"
  • Subverted in Branagh's Henry V. The Crowning Music of Awesome is in Latin, but instead of ominous, it's meant to sound hopeful and triumphant after the big battle sequence.
  • Mozart's "Dies Irae" underscores Nightcrawler's attack on the White House in X-Men 2.
  • Verdi's "Dies Irae" is the main opening theme to the Battle Royale film and Mitsudomoe.
  • The Conan the Barbarian films heavily featured dramatic Latin music -- despite there being no Latin in Cimmeria. See for example "Riders of Doom" (~1:37).
  • Ominous Latin Chanting plays when Queen Narissa enters the real world in Enchanted... and every time she uses her evil magic.
  • Used occasionally in The Matrix trilogy:
    • The final battle has some extremely Ominous Sanskrit Chanting in the background, although thematically it's rather positive: "And when he is seen in his immanence and transcendence, then the ties that have bound the heart are unloosened, the doubts of the mind vanish, and the law of Karma works no more." As the Wachowskis put it, "We couldn't very well have the choir chanting, 'This is the One, look at what he can do,' could we?"
    • The freeway scene in the second movie, features "Mona Lisa Overdrive" by Juno Reactor, with Sanskrit chanting from "Navras," also by Juno Reactor & Don Davis.
  • The Lord of the Rings movies feature ominous chanting in a variety of languages, including the languages that Tolkien made up himself as the main purpose of writing the stories in the first place. Some of the songs were even composed by Tolkien himself.
    • The Quenya chanting when the Nazgûl made their appearance is quite ominous in spite of being a "good" (i.e. Elven) language, being based on Latin and Finnish in about equal measure.
    • But anything beginning with Ash nazg durbatulûk (one ring to rule them all) is in Black Speech, the lingua franca of Mordor.
    • The movies are also notable for the skilful use of a deep-voiced Polynesian choir during the definitely ominous Balrog scene.
    • One of the themes commonly used in evil-is-winning battle/chase moments begins with the words "Balin! Khazad-dûm!", which is likely Khuzdul (Dwarvish), and if not, is at least speaking of dwarves (Balin being a lord of the dwarves and Khazad-dûm being the Khuzdul name for Moria).
    • One piece played in Moria is essentially "O Fortuna" with Dwarvish instead of Latin (starting at about 1:12 here).
    • Pretty much 90% of the music in the Howard Shore score that features lyrics has some level of Bilingual Bonus, whether in Quenya, Khuzdul, or the Black Speech, which is often relevant to the scene depicted.
    • Subverted, though, in two of the Arwen-related songs, which use English: when she prays for Frodo right after crossing the river Bruinen, entering Rivendell in The Fellowship of the Ring; and in the Houses of Healing, in the Extended Edition of The Return of the King, which has Liv Tyler herself singing it (the scene isn't related to Arwen, but it was first composed for a scene that was).
    • Though Howard Shore was provided with full translations for the lyrics he used, he didn't always follow them linearly in the score, and sometimes they ended up quite chopped up. Not to mention mispronounced (the Sindarin rovail [wings] and naur [fire], in the battle at the Black Gate, should be pronounced as "roh-vile" and "nowr", not "roh-veel" and "noor").
  • In the James Bond movie Die Another Day, Ominous backward English Chanting is used for the BigBad's evil space laser. The phrase, according to the composer, is "look at the size of that umbrella."
  • RoboCop has a chorus that chants his name.
  • The Boondock Saints does Ominous Latin Chanting throughout the movie, sometimes backed up with techno. The most pronounced is during the Il Duce firefight, which is accompanied by the same Ominous Latin Chanting that opened the movie.
  • The first transformation of Johnny Blaze into Ghost Rider is backed up by the Ominous Latin Chanting.
  • While not actual chanting, the opening driving sequence to The Shining is backed by a very slow version of "Dies Irae".
  • The flagellants from Bergman's The Seventh Seal sing the "Dies Irae," with lyrics "Pie Iesu domine, dona eis Requiem," translated, "Gracious Lord Jesus, grant them rest."
  • Monty Python and The Holy Grail include a likely parody of The Seventh Seal by including a group of flagellant Benedictines who chant "Pie Iesu" while bonking themselves on the head with wooden boards. "Pie Iesu" is later used to add majesty to the Holy Hand Grenade.
    • The full (and correct) phrase is "Pie Jesu Domine Dona Eis Requiem." Translation? "Kind Lord Jesus grant them rest." Fitting for the Witch Village, but not so for the Holy Hand Grenade.
  • The 2007 live-action Transformers film features a basso and an alto choir in counterpoint to each other being used for the Decepticon theme. Also used for the theme when Blackout attacks the base and when Megatron thaws.
  • Artists X-Ray Dog and Globus and others specialize in music for film and trailers, often featuring a lot of Ominous Latin Chanting.
  • The Reveal for the title Cool Boat in The Hunt for Red October is backed by Ominous Russian Chanting -- complete with Bilingual Bonus -- to form a Crowning Moment of Awesome.
  • In The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, during the massive battle there is ominous chanting quite a bit. In the same film, there is also a ton of the aforementioned chanting shortly before and during the Stone Table scene.
  • In the finale to Dead Again, the three-way battle between Frankie, Mike, and Grace is backed by the Ominous Latin Chanting.
  • In the 1963 film of Lord of the Flies, the choir approach singing "Kyrie eleison" repeatedly, in upbeat mood, accompanying a rather triumphant sounding trumpet. It sounds ominous only in retrospect (or if you know what's coming). Ironically, "Kyrie eleison" is part of the Catholic mass and translates to "Lord, have mercy." This is more what it would sound like in the traditional Latin rite.
  • There is plenty of Ominous Hindi Chanting during Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. "Kali ma shukti de!"
  • In Young Sherlock Holmes, the snake cult chants ominously in some dead language during their climactic ritual. A lot of their lyrics are merely the name of the cult, "Rame Tep".
  • John Boorman's Excalibur features one of the more famous uses of "O Fortuna" during battle sequences.
  • The main title theme for the Francis Ford Coppola film Bram Stokers Dracula features a chorus whispering and hissing on pitch in both Latin and Romanian.
  • This trope (usually substituting another language for Latin, though) shows up in a number of Bollywood films, including -- but not nearly limited to -- Kabhi Kushi Kabhie Gham, and Main Hoon Na.
  • Koyaanisqatsi features Ominous Hopi Chanting. Both it and its sequels (Powaqqatsi and Naqoyqatsi) feature the film's title chanted (although in Powaqqatsi it's more joyful than ominous), but there are additional Hopi chants in Koyaanisqatsi, which are translated at the end of the film, on screen, as:

 If we dig precious things from the land, we will invite disaster.

Near the day of Purification, there will be cobwebs spun back and forth in the sky.

A container of ashes might one day be thrown from the sky, which could burn the land and boil the oceans.

  • In the opening tune, and during the climactic battle in Bedknobs and Broomsticks, the enchanted armour sing the words of the 'substitutiary locomotion' spell that is animating them ("Treguna mekoides trecorum satis dee."). The effect is actually quite chilling.
  • Craig Armstrong's "Escape" from Plunkett and Macleane starts out as ominous and quite mournful, it being played as Macleane is about to get hanged, but soon turns into a driving and triumphant score when Plunkett gets his Big Damn Hero on and rescues him.
  • Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back: "Justice is dead!... or so Jay thinks!"
  • Parodied in Woody Allen's Love and Death, during the battle scene, with the battle music from Alexander Nevsky.
  • Listen to the music that plays during Galaxy Quest when we see the Omega 13 in all its glory. Go on, you know you want to.
  • Parodied twice in Step Brothers. A short sound clip of Ominous Latin Chanting plays when Brennan sees Dale's drum set (on which Dale has a strict 'do not touch' policy) sitting in the latter's room. It plays again when Dale inspects his drum set, suspecting it to have been touched.
  • John Barry's music for The Lion in Winter makes liberal use of Ominous Latin Chanting.
  • The soundtrack for Glory is made up of somthing that sounds like Ominous Latin Chanting, but it's also kind of pretty.
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey features, as the monolith music, Ligeti's Requiem mass. The lyrics are "Kýrie, eléison; Christé, eléison; Kýrie, eléison", repeated in a loop -- except each syllable is dragged a lot, and the different vocal ensembles don't sing together, adding to the confusion.
  • 1996's Romeo + Juliet had epic "O Verona".
  • The trailer for The X-Files movie also used "O Verona" (albeit a tecno-ish remix).
  • A main source of Narm in Hospital Massacre.
  • Trinity and Beyond: The Atomic Bomb Movie, ostensibly a documentary about nuclear testing, is basically an excuse to show lots of really big explosions set to Ominous (Russian?) Chanting.
  • In French movie Les Visiteurs, Ominous Latin Chanting is part of main theme: Enae Volare. Fitting with the Middle Age setting, but less with the movie genre, which is a comedy.
  • Used in The Dark Knight Saga. Hans Zimmer put a link out that allowed anyone to record themselves doing the chanting he used in The Dark Knight Rises.
  • In its masqued ball scene, Eyes Wide Shut gives us chanting in Romanian (an Eastern European language closely related to Latin) – played backwards!
  • Mission Impossible : Ghost Protocol has a rather punny and particularly memorable Ominous Russian Chanting piece entitled "Kremlin With Anticipation".


Literature

  • In the Warhammer 40000 novel Storm of Iron, the lead Chaos Titan is named Dies Irae.
  • Averted in the Divine Comedy where Latin chanting is (usually) a good sign and a contrast to the wailing screams of agony heard in hell.
  • In Andrzej Sapkowski's Hussite Wars series, utter polyglot nonsense was chanted by impostors-masquerading-as-exorcists, surprisingly, to quite the opposite effect. It summoned something unidentified. Which then immediately possessed the village idiot.


Live-Action TV

  • The Japanese gameshow subtly titled Cat Weightlifting includes hints of Ominous (probably Japanese) Chanting when the scientists are placing the final fish on the ground. The show also features unnecessarily awesome music when the cats manage to escape with the increasingly larger fish, and some Metal when each cat gets knocked out in the final round. If you've no idea what it's about, go watch the video already.
  • "O Fortuna" was also used during the series finale of the cult favourite TV show, American Gothic.
  • Stargate SG-1
    • Ominous Latin Chanting is used in the 3rd season episode "Demons". However, that episode was about a group of Middle Ages humans being threatened by Sokar, so it's rather appropriate.
    • In later seasons, there's plenty of Ominous Latin Chanting related to the Ori, as well as in the direct-to-DVD movies.
  • The titular Hopi chant from the movie Koyaanisqatsi plays every time The Janitor gives someone the Evil Eye in Scrubs. May God have mercy on the one who receives it.
  • The Daily Show used Ave Satani for the "horrors" that were:
    • Starbucks being closed for three hours.
    • Dick Cheney smiling more than ten times during the State of the Union address.
    • Not to mention Jon Stewart revealing his true identity as the Antichrist or possibly Conrad Bain.
    • They also used "O Fortuna" to accompany footage of Jesus on a spring.
  • Doctor Who
    • In the revived series, the first appearance of a massive Dalek army is accompanied by Ominous Hebrew Chanting. (The words are reported to be a translation of "What is happening?", which apart from being an appropriate response to the situation is also a Dalek Catch Phrase.) The words are "Mah Koreh, Mah Mah Koreh" (what's happening, what, what's happening) repeated over and over again. Here is the theme.
    • A moment in the following season's finale, featuring the use of the Dalek's Genesis Arc -- sending millions of Daleks against the 5 million Cybermen that have already taken over the world winds up using the prerequisite chanting as well.
    • And then of course, there's "The Dark and Endless Dalek Night", which contains a mixture of Ominous Latin and Terrifying Hebrew Chanting.
    • In "Tooth And Claw", the bald monks chant "Lupus Deus est" -- 'the wolf is god' -- as the moon rises.
    • And in "The End of Time, Part 2", the Ood sing "Vale Decem" (Farewell, Ten) as Ten regenerates.
    • The Headless Monks of "A Good Man Goes to War" have a decidedly unsettling chant/song they perform before they attack. How they manage to chant, given that they lack heads, is anyone's guess.
  • The Borg's first appearance in the "Best of Both Worlds" episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation is accompanied by an awesome sounding synthesized choir (appropriate for the Borg's artificial nature).
  • Battlestar Galactica
    • As much mournful as ominous, the words in the opening credits (in all TV airings on UK television, and from season 2 onwards in the U.S.) are actually a Sanskrit prayer known as the Gayatri Mantra, considered to be the holiest verse in the Vedas, the founding texts of Hinduism. Roughly translated into English it reads:

 Oh God! Giver of life, earth and sky

That heavenly light which must be worshipped

Let us attain the radiance of God

May our thoughts bring us ever forward into light

 Woe upon your Cylon heart.

There's a toaster in your head.

And it wears high heels.

Number Six calls to you.

The Cylon Detector beckons.

Your girlfriend is a toaster.

    • "Kobol's Last Gleaming" from the season 1 soundtrack contains proper latin Ominous Latin Chanting, using the words "Ita Dicimus Omnes", literally "So Say We All".
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000
    • In addition to the above, also mocked on this episode. "Featuring the Bulgarian Women's Choir edition of 'Jingle Bells'!"
    • And again with Werewolf, where they take the Ominous Native American Chanting sung over the credits and sing anything that fits with the beat.
  • The theme for Silent Witness is sung in Latin.
  • Used in the Korean Series Sign whenever the dramatic moment needs a extra kick.
  • In The Middleman, when Sensei Ping does the Wu-han Thumb of Death, it's accompanied by the "Dies Irae" from the Mozart Requiem (along with stock footage of Stuff Blowing Up).
  • Farscape: "Into The Lion's Den", the climax (if not the finale) of the third season, had two original tracks of Ominous Latin Chanting, "Salve Me" and "Lacrimosa". Both are available at the official website, and both are Crowning Music of Awesome.
  • Played with in Kamen Rider 555 in which a Corrupt Corporate Executive (though to be fair, the entire organization was corrupt too) played Ominous Latin Chanting on a personal CD player in his office whenever he was on the job. The situation didn't matter; he could be planning world domination or just relaxing after a hard hour's work, but the Chanting would still be belting out at full volume. Thanks to the show having a serious tone 99% of the time, this came off as more creepy than humorous.
  • The opening credits to Mr. Bean had a real church choir singing the Latin for "Behold the man who is a bean", "End of part one", "Part two", and "Farewell, man who is a bean".
  • The theme to the darkly humorous Danish television series Riget (of which Stephen King's Kingdom Hospital is a remake) mixed genuine Latin phrases with gibberish, counting to seven in English and slow spelling of the word "rectum" [1]. Even the legitimate Latin is nonsense ("speculum et cetera"; "mirror and so forth").
  • An episode of Spaced features apocalyptic Latin chanting to reveal a cute dog lying with bamboo on Tim's bed, as he has a fear of both.
  • Even Survivor (yes, the reality show) has done this with a generally unliked contestant (somewhere between quirky, insane, and power-hungry) doing yoga in the rain (complete with ominous lightning and thunder) as "O Fortuna" plays in the background.
  • Warehouse 13 's pilot had Ominous Medieval Italian Chanting.
  • In the new Discovery Channel series Wild Tropics, whenever the sharks or other dangerous predators show up the music shifts to Ominous Polynesian Chanting
  • Ominous Chanting is quite common on Merlin, though it's so indistinct that it's hard to tell whether or not it's Latin. Or what they're saying. It's very old English according to the DVD extras.
  • Invoked on Top Gear -- for when things like a race to London City Airport between a boat and a bicycle just aren't epic enough.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer has this. Usually, though, it isn't so much chanting as speaking it to perform spells and/or do rituals.
    • In one particular case in Season Two, it was ominous italian opera when Giles discovered that Angelus had killed Jenny Calender. The moment is also another Whedon example of Anyone Can Die
    • It should be noted that while good characters are shown to use magic in the show, as a rule the good guys (okay, 'girls') cast spells in what is actually intentionally-badly-pronounced Italian (so it sounds ancient), whereas the bad guys e.g. Warren use Latin chants.
  • Same goes for Supernatural with its various exorcisms and rituals, not only in Latin, but sometimes even in Enochian.
  • The soundtrack for Lexx includes a fair amount of random choral chanting (although a lot of it is just oohs and aahs).
  • Once a player goes to the third level ($50,000 and beyond) on the game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, the background thinking music starts to sounds more and more dramatic, with a choir chant playing over top of the music. However, the background music for the $1,000,000 question is a complete subversion, instead consisting of just a low, deep bass note, a drum hit, and a heartbeat.
  • Parodied in an episode of Bullshit, which opens with a chant of "Ethay Aticanvay isyay Ullshitbay..."
  • Ominous Nonsense Chanting found its way into Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess in the Dahak story arc. Actual Latin found its way into the story with the Four Horsemen.
  • The logo for Renaissance Pictures (which appears on Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess) uses this as music, accompanying visuals of lightning bolts and a Mona Lisa-like picture being ripped in half.
  • Hannity's America on Fox News has been known to use Carmina Burana as a cold opening sometimes, usually to a montage of "sinister" goings-on amongst (usually) Democratic political figures in Washington, D.C. Apparently it's supposed to be funny, although Hannity's America is generally serious.
  • Another "hard to tell if it's Latin or not" but the Highlander the Series episode "The Immortal Cimmoli"
  • Licat volare si super tergum Aquila volat - A man can fly where he will, if he rides on the back of an eagle.
  • Parodied on How I Met Your Mother. When Barney pressures Ted to swear an oath to him as his bro (a "bro oath" or "broath"), he lends the ceremony some extra solemnity by playing a recording of some chanting monks. It takes Ted a couple minutes to realize the monks are actually just chanting the word "bro" over and over; Barney had them record it just for the occasion.


Music

  • Slovenian Industrial band Laibach bypassed ominous, going straight to nightmare fuel unleaded with "Vade Retro Satanas" from their album Nova Akropola. "[2]"
  • German electronica band E Nomine uses a lot of Ominous Latin Chanting -- with good results. Then they combine it with the guttural voice of a Chain-Smoking German to make it even more sinister. "Schwarze Sonne" is a perfect example of just how epic this trope can be.
  • The song "Kann denn Liebe Sünde Sein" by the German metal band Eisbrecher has this in the beginning, but it's in German.
  • B-Movie sample pioneer Rob Zombie has used this technique in a couple songs, more notably in the White Zombie song "Super-Charger Heaven" (supposedly using a Latin excommunication trial).
  • This editor has seen it used during football games. Especially during pre-game shows while the announcers hype the teams.
  • Most power-metal albums, especially those with a fantasy theme. Pretty much any "Rhapsody" album starts off with a choir chanting ominous Latin gibberish.
    • "Lux Triumphans" from "Dawn Of Victory" is an excellent example of Ominous English Chanting.
  • While primarily instrumental, the band Nox Arcana employs vocal tracks on each of its albums. Almost all of those vocal tracks are in ominous Latin, as befits the band's name. Winter's Knight includes Gregorian hymns, which are neither intended nor played as ominous, but they have a somewhat spooky effect regardless. Necronomicon also has plenty of ill-boding chanting, but it's not in a human language. Blood of the Dragon is in the fantasy genre, not horror, but it still uses plenty of "O Fortuna"-inspired chanting throughout the album (particularly in the title track, where the influence is so obvious it's ridiculous).
    • According to composer Joseph Vargo, most of the post-"Blood of the Dragon" albums contain pseudo-Latin Chanting.
  • In the penultimate scene of Berlioz's La damnation de Faust, a male chorus chants in a made-up demonic language ("Ha! Irimiru Karabrao!") as Mephistopheles triumphantly brings Faust into Pandaemonium. The final scene is set in the other place, where a Cherubic Choir welcomes Marguerite.
  • Puccini's Tosca, at the end of Act I, with the Latin prayers underscoring the nefarious schemes of corrupt chief of police and sexual predator Scarpia, though the prayers themselves culminate in the first lines of the Te Deum, which is usually considered more celebratory than ominous. More ominously, Spoletta mumbles a few lines from the "Dies Irae" during the torture scene in Act II.
  • Puccini's Turandot (based on a Chinese fairytale) has the chorus (singing in Italian) playing the people of Beijing, reflecting the changing moods of the crowd, first as a frenzied mob screaming for blood, then cheering the Unknown Prince on as he successfully answers the princess' riddles, and pleading with slave-girl Liù, who has killed herself, to reveal the prince's name. Especially at the death of Liù, the sound of the chorus is chilling.
  • Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov has the chorus playing the Russian people. Many opera lovers consider the chorus to be one of the main characters, and they get their own curtain call. Their prayers, mob scenes, and laments, sung in Russian, sound spooky as well as heartrending, particularly at the death of Boris. At several points, some really ominous Latin chanting is heard.
  • The band Enigma combines Gregorian-esque chants with ethereal electronic sound effects. The album "The Screen Behind the Mirror" samples Carmina Burana -- so much so that it could be said to be Carmina Burana with samples of Enigma. It was one of the few times where the original publishers sanctioned its use.
  • The band Gregorian plays covers of popular songs in a Gregorian-chant vocal style with modern instrumentation. There are a few of their songs which feature Ominous Latin Chanting including their cover of the inevitable "O Fortuna" and their original, "Gregorian Anthem".
  • While Swedish symphonic metal band Therion does not always implement Ominous Chanting into their songs, almost all of them have choirs singing in some capacity. They, too, have covered "O Fortuna". Other songs like "Seven Secrets of the Sphinx", "Via Nocturna", or "The Wondrous World Of Punt" may also fit this trope.
  • Although in English, AFI's "Miseria Cantare" pretty much tells you that Sing The Sorrow's plot (it is a concept album) is not going to have a happy ending. Yeah, the lyrics are nihilistic, but it is the background chorus and eerie music that show you the magnitude of the unhappy life the main character of the plot is going to have.
  • Brazilian power metal band Angra employed this in their song "Acid Rain", first to open the song, then to mark the passage from the bridge to the guitar solo.
  • "Warszawa" on the album Low, by David Bowie, has a long chanting sequence, made of Bowie overdubbing his own voice in several keys. Ominous, yes, and quite appropriately based on an old Polish composition, but the actual lyrics are gibberish.
  • Evanescence use it in the songs "Whisper" and "Lacrymosa," as well as the unreleased song "Anything for You." Whisper's lyrics translated are, "Save us from danger, save us from evil," and the other two are just from the "Lacrimosa" section of the Requiem mass.
  • Enya's Tempus Vernum is entirely Ominous Latin Chanting, which is essentially a list of pairs of opposites. ("Therefore, the earth and the stars. Therefore, the east and the west...")
    • Not to mention Pax Deorum and Cursum Perficio. Enya seems to like this trope a lot.
    • She's also very fond of Gaelic (not surprising at all, given her musical and cultural background), and for Amarantine even developed an artificial language -- complete with its own script -- for those moments when neither Latin nor Gaelic met the dramatic requirements.
  • Power/thrash metal band Iced Earth has the 16-minute epic Dante's Inferno, based on, well, Dante's Inferno. It has sections of what sounds like Ominous Latin Chanting, although songwriter Jon Schaffer has admitted that it's just gibberish invented to sound evil. Ominous Latin Chanting also shows up in the songs Damien (based on the movie The Omen) The Coming Curse, and Harbinger of Fate although this editor is not certain whether these contain actual Latin words. Also in the middle of their song "Divide Devour" (Dies Natalis, Odisse, Mortalis).
    • Demons & Wizards also uses this: "Crimson King" starts with chanting choirs and "Chant," the outro on their first album is a (pseudo?) Gregorian chant that Hansi Kürsch made by multi-tracking his voice. Speaking of Hansi, the second album by his main band, Blind Guardian, opens with "Inquisition": Pie Jesu Domine, dona eis requiem chanted repeatedly. (This is the same as the chanting in Monty Python and The Holy Grail.) It's fairly relevant; the first song is about John the Baptist.
  • Inversion: "Orchestral metal" group Trans-Siberian Orchesta's rock opera Beethoven's Last Night features some Ominous Latin Chanting, but it's generally uplifting and set to a variation of Ode to Joy. The piece has the titular composer reflecting on his life and career, and how his music has affected the world.
    • The more traditional version makes its appearance in "Requiem (The Fifth)" from said rock opera, which, as its name implies, is a mash-up of Mozart's Requiem and Beethoven's Fifth Symphony.
  • AIM's Demonique combines, to wonderfully creepy effect, ominous chanting with dialogue from the movie "Halloween" and a trip-hop beat.
  • "O Fortuna". The piece has been popularly associated with Satanism ever since it was used in The Omen.
    • Which this student of Latin finds saddening, because it's the most awesome piece of musical navel contemplation you will ever hear.[4]
    • Also from Carmina Burana is "In taberna quando sumus", an Ominous Latin Drinking Song.
  • Mozart's "Dies Irae" from the Requiem gets almost as much play as "O Fortuna" in dramatic situations. Unlike most of the pieces on this page, though, it has the thematic weight to match its ominous tone when translated: the lyrics are describing the Apocalypse.
  • In fact, the "Dies Irae" from practically any Requiem Mass qualifies by definition as Ominous Latin Chanting. Especially Verdi.
  • The original Dies Irae Gregorian chant is pretty freakin' spooky all on its own.
  • Adiemus, a classical piece by Karl Jenkins, isn't technically Latin (the composer invented all the "words" himself), but it's spine-tingling awesome.
  • Deathspell Omega is basically a Latin choir playing black metal.
  • Check the E.S. Posthumus album Unearthed and you're less likely to find a song without Ominous Latin Chanting. Of course, the reason behind their use of it is the fact that the songs are all about dead civilizations and ruined cities of the ancient world.
  • A Song For Europe by Roxy Music has Bryan Ferry repeating the song's last couplet in French, then in Latin.
  • The song "Sister of Charity" by Finnish Gothic-Rock band The 69 Eyes contains repeated Ominous Latin Chanting, made even more ominous coupled with the deep bass voice of the singer. The Latin words translate to "Between hope and fear... Charity in war".
  • Some Latin chants are so well known in classical music that they can be quoted in an instrumental piece without the words being used. The most ominous of these chants is the Gregorian Dies Irae. Examples of its many uses appear in the Witches' Sabbath movement of Hector Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique, Camille Saint-Saëns's Danse macabre and third symphony, Sergei Rachmaninov's The Isle of the Dead and Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Modest Mussorgsky's Night on Bald Mountain and Franz Liszt's Totentanz.
  • Metallica's "The Memory Remains" has Marianne Faithfull singing an Ominous Chanting of "nananana" (and she's an appropriate choice, considering the song is about a White Dwarf Starlet). James Hetfield asks the audience to sing that part live.
  • Era, while very fond of the Latin Chanting, isn't usually Ominous. But then there's Enae Volare Mezzo, which is probably one of the sexiest sounding examples of Ominous Latin Chanting ever.
    • There's also Ameno which manges to be genuinely ominous and creepy.
    • I believe most of the songs are written in a pseudo language with similarities to Greek and Latin.
  • The French prog rock band Magma uses ominous chanting in many of their songs. They even made up their own language for it, called Kobian.
  • Our Solemn Hour by Within Temptation ("San-ctus Espiri-tus...").
  • Nightwish implements chanting in a few of their songs on their album Imaginaerum.
  • "Saltwater" by Chicane features ominous Gaelic chanting, sampled from the Theme Tune of Harry's Game.
    • "Four Seasons" by Blue Amazon also uses a Gaelic-sounding chant.
  • Epica has a whole album in which each features at least one verse with Ominous Latin Chanting.
    • All of their intros (with the exception of the largely instrumental "The Score: An Epic Journey") begin with Latin Chanting; some songs that feature ominous chanting are "Cry For the Moon" and "The Phantom Agony" (Ominous English Chanting) and "The Divine Conspiracy" (Ominous Latin Chanting). "Seif Al Din" may feature Ominous Arabic Chanting.
  • As mentioned in The Matrix entry above, the Juno Reactor songs "Mona Lisa Overdrive"(Kyrie Eleison) and "Navras"(ominous Sanskrit chanting).
  • Starflyer 59's "Underneath" and "First Heart Attack" (the first and last track from the album Old') feature sampled, wordless chanting, courtesy of Richard Swift's mellotron.
  • "Memories in a Sea of Forgetfulness" by BT uses (not so ominous) Arabic/Muslim chanting, which sounds like the Adhan prayer call. Also, "Firewater" has the Muslim chant "La illah illa Allah" (I bear witness to no god but Allah).
  • "Scorched Blood" by Xorcist has this.
  • Vangelis has used the omnious singing, more often sounding closer to Greek but can evoke Latin and sometimes other languages (like Egyptian Arabic in one of the Blade Runner cues, courtesy of one-time bandmate Demis Roussos). Examples of this includes Heaven and Hell, Mask, his soundtrack to 1492: Conquest of Paradise, Voices, his various El Greco works and Mythodea
    • There's even a moment when baby sounds are used ... "Message" from Direct
  • Parodied with the mashup "Crank Dat One Winged Angel"[3], by Valley of Walls. Soulja Boy + One Winged Angel = the most sinister rap jam you've ever heard.
  • Ominous German Chanting, admittedly. Halber Mensch by Einsturzende Neubauten. Very awesome. Very creepy.
  • Iron Maiden's "Sign of the Cross", based on The Name of the Rose (a work full of priests) opens with one.
  • The operetta Candide accompanies an attack on the hero's home with a freshly-written Gregorian chant. Alas, the lyricist Did Not Do the Research. The chant include the phrase "Agnus Dei, Ora Pro Nobis" ("Lamb of God, pray for us"), which is, well, heresy. ("Lamb of God, have mercy on us" would be appropriate, but "pray for us" is said to saints, not to God--and in Catholic doctrine, the "Lamb of God" is himself God.) It wasn't really freshly-written; it was written for the 1970s revival using the music of a pre-existing song, "It Must Be So." Most productions use the instrumental "Battle Music" instead.
  • The Carol of the Old Ones, by the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society, is Ominous English Chanting.
  • Symphonic Metal band Tristania uses this a lot, along with Soprano and Gravel, with fairly epic-sounding effects.
    • As do Morten's side projects Sirenia and Mortemia. "The Mind Maelstrom" is essentially a praise chorus to Ominous Latin Chanting while Mortemia is strictly Morten's death grunts and Latin chanting-- His formula is demonstrated well in "The Malice Of Life's Cruel Ways".
  • The 1965 Yardbirds B-side "Still I'm Sad" features wordless ominous chanting of the same melody to which Keith Relf sings the lyrics.
  • Most of the songs by Audiomachine are like that and can be heard in numerous film trailers.
  • Most of the songs by Two Steps From Hell contain epic chanting set to a driving, orchestral soundtrack suitable for battle scenes, for example Nemesis, Flameheart, and Freedom Fighters (used in a trailer for J.J. Abram's Star Trek (2009) movie), although it's hard to make out the exact words.
  • Enigma's song, "Gravity Of Love," uses "O Fortuna" to great effect at the start of the song.
  • Gekkakou by Versailles has a bridge supposedly in Latin, when it is in fact a list of spells from Harry Potter. Somewhat justified in that the spells themselves mostly consist of Canis Latinicus, but are still shoved in there to sound cool.
  • Apoptygma Berzerk originally used a sample of Carmina Burana on the track "Love Never Dies : Part One" - [4].
  • Funker Vogt often uses ominous English, German, and non-lyrical chanting.
  • Carmina Burana itself. Originally it was a collection of medieval poems and songs, usually written by students and dealing with such topics as drinking, revelry, love and morality. Carl Orff, who composed the music in 1935 most likely thought that medieval texts in Latin must be definitely ominous, so he created famous and extremely dramatic score. 'O Fortuna!' ('Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi') is actually pretty mellow poem about waxing and waning whims of Fortune, clearly inspired by stoic poetry of Marcus Aurelius. If you know Latin, the dissonance between Orff's score and bawdier lyrics is outright hilarious.
  • Paid tribute to in Gowan's "(You're A) Strange Animal" during the final chorus, where Gowan belts out "Oh, Ominous Spiritus!" in a decidedly non-ominous, non-chanting way.
  • Omnis Mundi Creatura by Helium Vola is very ominous, and the creepy synths in the background only make it scarier.


Pro Wrestling

  • The Undertaker has often gotten in on the act, as many of his Pay-Per-View entrances see him preceded by torch-bearing, black-robed druids chanting in Latin. Extra points to his Wrestlemania XIV entrance, where the druids actually entered to "O Fortuna" before Undertaker made his entrance to his usual music, a particularly-chilling rendition of Chopin's "Funeral March".
  • Raven's entrance theme from his short WWE tenure prominently features Ominous Arabic Chanting. Raven mentioned on his website that Jim Johnston (WWE's music director, and writer/composer of about 90% of the songs used by WWE) used it to make the song sound "creepy and alien". It works beautifully.
  • Ominous Arabic chanting was featured even more prominently in Muhammad Hassan's theme, but this time, it was post 9/11, and the music was deliberately chosen to, along with the entrance video that interspersed shots of Hassan and his manager, Daivari, with slow pans of various American landmarks, leave the viewer with a vaguely uncomfortable feeling. All of this played directly into Hassan's character, which was an Arab-American who was sick and tired of being stereotyped as a terrorist, and lashed out at everybody, including the audience, for doing so.
  • WWE has even integrated ominous Latin into The Merch -- a Triple H T-shirt features, among the skull-and-bones motif, the single word "Eversoris"[5].
  • Mistico's theme song, performed by the band Era, consists of Ominous Latin Chanting, violins and a scorching guitar solo or two.


Sports

  • "O Fortuna" was used during the reveal of one of the three Super Bowl championship banners for the New England Patriots during the pre-game ceremony for the subsequent season-opener.


Tabletop Games

  • Warhammer has human magic users slowly become more and more influenced by their chosen magic discipline. In the case of White Magic users, this may make them able to sing in a chorus by themselves.
  • Warhammer 40000 uses this one, too, but in dramatically different circumstances. The Imperium of Man is a theocratic fascist state, whose official language is High Gothic, usually rendered as Latin in the books. Anytime an Imperial choir strikes up, whether it be members of the Ministerium trying to bolster the morale of the Imperial Guardsmen defending against an enemy onslaught, or the Adepta Sororitas singing their battle-hymn Ave Imperator, this trope is in effect.


Theater

  • The song "All That's Known" from Spring Awakening has an interesting variation on this. The chanting is in Latin--but it's the start of The Aeneid, recited by students. As the singer is rebelling against this type of education, it's quite fitting.
  • The Book of Mormon: "Rectus! Dominus! Spookytus! Deus! Creepyus!"
    • A Shout-Out to themselves when they did it on South Park. See below.


Video Games

  • Age of Empires III has this in one of the battle themes.
  • Anno 1404: Dawn of Discovery has Ominous Simlish Chanting to both latin- and oriental-sounding music whenever something big is happening. And the Theme Tune has both.
  • In Princess Waltz, a techno version of this causes Nerdgasms during Badass moments in the game, and it definitely gets the player geeked out of their mind for the upcoming PWNAGE!
  • Features prominently throughout the score for Dragon Age, though Inon Zur manages to use it to create any number of different moods. Some of it is also in their constructed elvish language, too.
  • Eternal Darkness does this with ominous whispering. Also comes up in incidental music during chapters set in the Forbidden City in Persia.
  • Appears during the start menu in Star Wars: Republic Commando. It is perhaps worth noting that this is not Latin, but is in fact the Mandalorian language, which has been expanded into what is essentially the Star Wars equivalent of Elvish. For example, "Ka'rta Tor" and "Gra'tua Cuun", which sound oddly like they belong in Warhammer 40000. Vode an has become the Fandalorian motto.
  • Crops up once in the Play Station 2 game Primal, during the boss battle with Adaro.
  • In Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3 there is an Ominous Japanese Chanting when their Humongous Mecha, The Shogun Executioner is activated, to your delight, you are the one controlling it. Also The Grinder 2 theme. Although it does sound like they're saying "God help us!"
  • Possibly oldest among the trope users in gaming: Roberta Williams' Phantasmagoria opened with a full Gregorian chant called Consumite Furore. Only barely weakened by the use of poor Midi instruments in some portions.
  • Tomb Raider is absolutely chock-full of this in its first three games, particularly the original game.
    • Tomb Raider: Anniversary has even more (especially in its Greek section). Tomb Raider: Legend's theme tune is a Gaelic chant (although not really ominous), also a Bilingual Bonus as it is actually a Gaelic folk song. It also has an "Ave Maria" Latin chant.
    • Tomb Raider: Underworld's theme tune is focused around a slowly growing chant (although its use here is more epic than ominous)
  • Final Fantasy
    • "One-Winged Angel" (yes, that one), the Final Boss theme from Final Fantasy VII, is in Latin. With the exception of the repetition of Sephiroth's name, the lyrics are taken from sections of Carmina Burana. This music was updated somewhat as a Bonus Boss fight in Kingdom Hearts. When the one and only Sephiroth made his film debut in the spinoff Advent Children, however, his theme song was given a massive makeover, complete with new lyrics (underlining the character's themes), a more operatic tone, and blazing electric guitars.
    • Speaking of Final Fantasy, Final Fantasy VIII opened with "Liberi Fatali," or "Fated Children," splitting the camera time between a heated duel and a field of flowers. (The lyrics themselves were rather ominous and dramatic even after translation and heavily foreshadowed the events of the game.)
    • Even cooler, the initial words, "Fithos Lusec Wecos Vinosec" (which are also used at other places in the soundtrack) though sounding vaguely Latin, are actually an anagram for "Succession of Witches" plus the word "Love".
    • Dancing Mad, the Final Boss battle theme for Kefka in Final Fantasy VI, is the predecessor to "One-Winged Angel" mentioned above. Made extra epic with the inclusion of the most ominous pipe organ fuge this side of Toccata and Fugue in D Minor. And it was all done on the SNES with just a voice-synth card. The live version with an actual choir and (presumably) Latin lyrics properly invokes this trope.
    • Dissidia Final Fantasy also had One Winged Angel as a battle theme.
      • In the prequel, Dissidia 012, the first part of Feral Chaos' battle theme, Cantata Mortis, is this trope in spades. This then leads right into 'God in Fire'.
      • Canto Mortis from the same game shares some of its lyrics with the more expressive Cantata Mortis, but has a much more foreboding vibe to it. Fitting, considering the first time you hear it is when the six remaining Cosmos Warriors are marching towards nigh-certain death for the sake of sealing the source of the Manikins.
    • Final Fantasy X has Ominous Nonsense Chanting. The Hymn of the Fayth, though slightly more upbeat than most of these examples, is actually Japanese written in one direction then read in another direction, the explanation of which can be found here.
    • Final Fantasy XI has Ominous Esperanto Chanting in its opening video.
    • And is continued in Final Fantasy XIII. Case of Fridge Brilliance as well. Serah (I meant Barthandelus) utters a hymn to Ragnarok at the end of Chapter 11. This is, in fact, the translation to "Fighting Fate":

 Ragnarok.

Come Day of Wrath.

O Pulse l'Cie.

Embrace thy fate,

Thine home to burn.

That fallen souls might bare our plea...

To hasten the Divine's return.

O piteous Wanderer.

  • An exception: Final Fantasy XII dispels any Latin in its battle theme against the Espers, but retains the Ominous Chanting part.
  • Ace Combat
    • Ace Combat Zero uses this trope to good measure in its final battle too. But they had more or less just took the same song and lyrics from Ace Combat 5 and remixed its symphonic choir theme into something akin to a Latin Flamenco. But we're certainly not complaining. It was appropriate since Zero was the prequel of 5.
    • Subverted in Ace Combat 6; the background music playing during the battle at the Chandelier is superficially similar to many cases of Ominous Latin Chanting. However, it's in plain English and sung by a boy's choir.
    • Ace Combat 04 plays versions of both Rex Tremendae Maiestatis and Agnus Dei from Requiem Mass for the final mission; both can be heard here.
  • 'Dies Irae" is Wolfgang Krauser's theme from the Fatal Fury games.
  • Used in some of the Warcraft III cinematics, mostly hauntingly during the return of Prince Arthas.
  • Gleefully utilized in World of Warcraft--Latin and otherwise.
    • Paired with more cheerful Inspiring Latin Chanting in the common theme A Call To Arms.
    • "O Thanagor" is played quite a few times in Wrath of the Lich King. The ominousness of the song itself is almost totally context-based. On its own, it's a standard long-live-the-king blessing. When applied to Arthas, it becomes so very terrifying: "Long live the king/May he reign forever/May his strength fail him never/First in battle, last in retreat/Even in death..."
      • The version of the song sung in the Wrath of the Lich King trailer adds Latin to the whole shebang and makes it worse still. "Erigo Eo Draco Modo" (let this dragon be raised) and then "Specto Su Praesenti Caligo Caelum..." (see his power darken the sky). As if Terenas's voiceover wasn't enough...!
    • The background theme that plays during the Culling of Stratholme Caverns-of-Time instance has plenty of ominous Latin lyrics--unfortunately they're really hard to hear. What one can glean is often kind of terrifying though ("veneficus fatalis" is damn right).
  • Super Smash Bros Brawl
    • The main battle theme for the Final Destination stage of features Ominous Latin Chanting, along with face-melting electric guitar solos. Interestingly, it's a remix of the main theme for the game, where the Latin Chanting isn't ominous at all; in fact, it's more lyrics than chanting. When you beat the Subspace Emissary mode, the theme plays again with a very loose translation of the lyrics displayed... and they're basically a thematic description of the events of the game (granted, a very loose and non-specific description). It's worth noting, though, that said piece was composed by Nobuo Uematsu, the famed Final Fantasy composer responsible for the aforementioned "One-Winged Angel" and "Liberi Fatali". Man just loves his ominous chanting.
    • The "Fire Emblem Theme" music on the Fire Emblem stage also has Latin lyrics. Translation here; apparently, it's the same choral group responsible for the main theme.
  • Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn also had Latin in its main theme, but this is not the same as the Latin used in Smash Bros.
  • Drakengard has instances of Ominous Latin Chanting in background music. The trope is subverted, however, as every important plot event usually uses something other than Ominous Latin Chanting to set the mood. The game's composer was fond of discordant violins.
  • Subverted in Serious Sam: The Second Encounter: The final boss, Mordekai the summoner, spends the entire battle chanting to himself in ominous-sounding Latin, but as the in-game bestiary will explain, having been risen from the dead, his brain has suffered significant damage, so he's constantly talking complete and utter crap to himself, in Latin!
  • In Fable, whenever you find yourself wandering around a graveyard, the background music will feature plenty of ominous chanting.
  • Medal of Honor: Frontline
    • Notable for its use of Melancholy Dutch Chanting in at least two missions, one of which ("Arnhem Knights") features a huge, chaotic battle; in the latter case, it is presumably to underscore the violence of the mission itself, and actually works rather well.
    • Or Melancholy Dutch Cherubic Choir.
    • The track "Sturmgeist's Armoured Train", however, plays this straight, combining loud and ominous "Ah-ah"'s with pounding percussion and powerful brass.
  • Starcraft The Teaser of the Expansion Pack features ominous opera chanting playing on an antique record player in Admiral DuGalle's quarters as he and Vice Admiral Stukov discuss the ethics of using the Zerg as a bio weapon while watching said aliens ravage a hapless human colony. It swells from Latin into Ominous French Chanting with a Bilingual Bonus of Soundtrack Dissonance -- "Give everything for honour!" -- as the Admiral orders his fleet to abandon the colonists to their fate. The French part of this song comes back to haunt DuGalle in the epilogue as he commits suicide moments before the Zerg catch up with his retreating fleet and completely wipe it out.
    • The trailer featured said Ominous Operatic Latin Chanting as the audio as clips from various cutscenes played.
    • Check out the music track "Liberty Air Waves". Chanting starts at about 4:37.
    • The Brood War Aria (actual track name, honest) comes back in Starcraft II as Emperor Mengsk's personal theme. In addition, several other tracks feature ominous chanting, such as the Escape From Mar Sara.
  • While it may not qualify as ominous, per se, Homeworld used Samuel Barber's "Agnus Dei" to a similar effect. It first plays at the beginning of the first mission, accompanied by cinematic views and radio communiqués of the Mothership preparing to leave its berth. It plays again on the third mission, when it returns from its hyperdrive test to discover that hostile aliens have firebombed your whole *** planet to extinction. It plays a third and last time in the final mission, when your Mothership is being swamped by overwhelming enemy reinforcements... only the latest arrivals are rebels who help carve a path for your fleet to strike at their mad emperor.
  • Beyond Good and Evil had ominous unknown alien language chanting in most of the battles with DomZ. While most of it doesn't mean anything, the pseudo-ArcWord "Shauni" does crop up in it from time to time.
  • The Halo series has ominous Gregorian chant playing during all of the main menu screens.
    • Other examples include "The Maw" (heard at the beginning of the level of the same name), the Delta Halo theme, and "Ancient Machine"(one of the Flood themes). Several tunes also feature an Ethereal Choir. This isn't technically Ominous Latin Chanting though, since the chanting isn't in Latin. In fact it's nothing more than "uh" and occasionally "oo".
    • Except in a few themes (notably Destroyer's Invocation from Halo 2) in which the chanting is reversed English. Then there's the music for the live-action trailer We Are ODST which features someone singing in Welsh about cheating Death and 'plunging headfirst into the afterlife'
    • In Halo 2's Delta Halo/Regret mission, the Prophet of Regret can be heard chanting the series' theme in alien gibberish.
    • Halo: Reach uses a creepy droning chant several times, including during Noble Six's Last Stand.
  • Freedom Fighters features a lot of Ominous Russian Chanting in the more climactic parts of the game. This makes sense in two ways: the Russians are the ones that are invading the USA, and these songs are mostly based on the Soviet Army Choirs.
  • The menus in Age of Mythology are accompanied by Ominous Greek Chanting.
  • In the later games of the Myst series, the tribal-sounding choral pieces that open the games are all in the Myst Verse's fictional languages.
    • Myst 3: Exile features its own language in the title song. Clips from it appear throughout the game at dramatic points.
  • Xenosaga
    • The game has a lot of Latin songs, but most of them aren't that ominous. Rather, the Latin chanting is more upbeat and action-oriented, though there are a few songs that get three out of three.
    • Ironically, the song Godsibb from Xenosaga 3 is not in latin, even though it sounds like it. In fact, it’s not in any language. It’s three minutes, twenty three seconds of gibberish.
  • Devil May Cry
    • The second and third battles with Vergil in Devil May Cry 3 feature battle music that ends in a foreboding chant, though it may not necessarily be in any specific language.
    • Also present when you visit the Divine Statues scattered everywhere.
    • Meanwhile, in the fourth game, Ominous Chanting (and not-so-Ominous Chanting) makes up a considerable portion of the soundtrack. Considering the game's Crystal Dragon Jesus themes, this makes perfect sense.
    • The song "Stage Music 9 (Demon World) by Tetsuya Shibata, in the soundtrack for the game, begins with nothing but such chanting.
  • God of War, appropriately, featured Ominous Greek Chanting that started up whenever something suitably spectacular came into view, Kratos killed a lot of things (or just one really big thing) or Kratos solved a puzzle... So, the whole game, yes.
  • The score for Dantes Inferno is full of Ominous Latin Chanting.
  • The theme for Skyrim is the "Prophecy of the Dragonborn" sung in The Dragon Language.
    • The whole soundtrack is peppered with Ominous Dragon Chanting, and whenever the Dragonborn levels up, comes upon a dragon, or Word Wall, variations of the theme begin playing. An example other the main theme can be heard in Sovngarde.
  • The indie title Larva Mortus is made of epic Latin orchestrals. The ambient tracks are not without chants, and the main theme and the boss fight music has lyrics composed of famous latin sayings(Si vic pacem parabelum, Acta Est Fabula, Etc). It´s funny though, because the game is a simple horror themed top-down Shooter... One can take a guess on what most of the games budget was spended on.
  • Metroid
    • Metroid Prime uses ominous chanting in its main menu, although there are no words. Just "Aaahhh ah-ah". It still sounds awesome. (the title theme of Prime 2: Echoes is similar, though with "Oh-oh-oh-oooooooooooooohhhhh")
    • Then Prime 3: Corruption comes in and kicks the Ominous Latin Chanting Up to Eleven with its own title theme.
    • Metroid has another known ominous chanting, the Lower Norfair theme from Super Metroid, which is also used for Magmoor in Prime. No words again, just "oh, oh, oh", and also sounds awesome.
    • Metroid Prime 2 does it a little bit when Dark Samus appears. The third Prime game also does it again for her and uses it rather nicely when exploring the cliffside of Bryyo.
  • Descent: Freespace had "Aaaahaaahs" in its cutscenes. Freespace 2 ups the ante by having them in the music played in action situations, as well as in the briefing music right before an important battle).
  • Resident Evil
    • Resident Evil -- Outbreak, among others in the series, has an example of this trope during the third fight against Thanatos. That it is the last boss fight in the game doesn't help either.
    • The Final Boss theme of Reident Evil 2 has this too.
    • The Zealots in Resident Evil 4. The language is Spanish, but it's a romance language, and the words for death are similar. Either way, hearing an eerie leech-infested monk whisper the word "death" over and over is about as ominous as they come.
    • Salazar and Saddler's boss battle themes both feature wordless ominous chanting.
  • Kingdom Hearts
    • Ominous Italian Chanting is employed in the first game, namely during "Destati" ("Awakening") at the beginning, "Fragments of Sorrow" (End of the World's battle theme) and "Guardando nel Buio" ("Watching in the Dark", one of the final boss themes).
    • Kingdom Hearts II also had Ominous Chanting in three songs: The Organization XIII Theme and both the main and battle themes to The World That Never Was. It doesn't appear to be in any particular language, however.
  • Castlevania
    • Castlevania: Rondo of Blood and Circle of the Moon use the traditional "Kyrie Eleison" chant for their menus. Symphony of the Night use another old Christian chant, "Key Largo".
    • The remake of Rondo changes the boss theme from an average tune to a fast paced chanted track which is pretty awesome.
  • Super Mario Galaxy
  • The Legend of Zelda
    • The Fire Temple from Ocarina of Time has Ominous Arab Chanting which was mysteriously removed further versions of the game to have a chant-less version of the song. The Shadow Temple also has an Ominous Chant of "aaaah -- uuuuuh -- ooooh"
    • What about the ominous screaming that made up the Forest Temple's theme? That music by itself was nearly Nightmare Fuel just cause it made you so on edge.
    • The Song of Time was also chanted in the Temple of Time. No lyrics, just "Eeyaaah-eee-ee-yaaaah."
    • The Wind Waker tacked on some disturbing chanting in its remix of Ganondorf's theme song.
    • The boss theme of Beast Ganon in Twilight Princess features chanting in form of "Enyaaa" all the time.
    • The intro music of Twilight Princess has Gregorian-type chanting.
    • In the staircase of the Tower of Spirits in Spirit Tracks. It isn't added to the song right until you almost reached the top.
  • Assassin's Creed 2 features Latin chanting in the final mission. Justified in that the mission takes place in the Vatican.
  • Trauma Center
    • Trauma Center: New Blood features Latin chanting when the final form of Cardia is revealed. To be fair, it actually makes sense, since the lyrics are calling the virus to awaken and kill the world.
    • The Ominous Latin Chanting reappears in Under the Knife 2 as well, on the Alethia missions.
    • And was also in Second Opinion, on the first Savato mission (and thus, X-Missions one through six).
  • The theme from Zone of the Enders: the 2nd Runner is almost entirely made-up chanting, but sounds awesome nonetheless.
  • In Super Smash Bros Melee, the Pokémon battlefield stage had an ominous chorus remix of the Pokémon theme.
  • Subverted in Universe at War: Earth Assault, where the Gregorian hymns are given to the Ancient Astronauts and Sealed Good in a Can Masari. The evil Hierarchy get heavy metal instead.
  • Jedah Dohma's entrance theme in Darkstalkers 3 contains Ominous Latin Chanting. This seems appropriate, as Jedah is the Antichrist.
  • Total War
  • Little Big Planet
    • The game apparently contained Ominous Arabic Chanting. Unfortunately, this got the game labelled as blasphemous by some Muslim leaders, and triggered a recall in order to remove the lyrics.
    • It also has Nevsky's Battle on the Ice during the laughably easy final boss.
  • The opening theme to 11eyes has an Ominous Latin Chanting chorus in the background chanting the Seven Deadly Sins. (Superbia invidia ira acetia avarita...). This is more than just Gratuitous Latin, though. The Seven Deadly Sins extend to the Theme Naming of a very certain group of enemies that show up later in the game.
  • Call of Duty: World at War features Ominous Russian Chanting in the Red Army's theme.
  • The Final Ship Battle in Skies of Arcadia had this.
  • The whole soundtrack of Chaos Gate is this, it's awesome
  • Wario Land: Shake It had minor Ominous Chanting during the escape music in the haunted house levels Bad Manor and Boogie Mansion.
  • The music for Penny Arcade Adventures: Episode 2's final boss. Given the nature of the boss itself -- a giant Fruit Fucker -- one can only imagine what the lyrics mean!
  • Even Sonic the Hedgehog 2006 has this. Latin chants begin the theme that plays while the Super Mode Hedgehogs square off against the first form of Solaris, the Big Bad of the game.
  • The Legend of Spyro loves this trope. Not that's a bad thing, in some cases, it works quite well, such as Gaul's theme in The Eternal Night (and the theme for the Destroyer level in Dawn of the Dragon).
  • Rogue Galaxy had Latin (at least, that's what I believe it is) chanting for the final boss and a block puzzle the size of Manhattan. Unfortunately, the chanting consists solely of a single phrase repeated over and over. It sounds cool, but "Hungary Bravara" doesn't actually sound too ominous.
  • Armored Core for Answer subverts this trope with the song "Scorcher", which plays a total of 3 times in the game (of note one of those times is For Answer's infamous Scrappy Level, the Occupation of Arteria Carpals) -- it sounds like this trope at first, but it's actually English. (To be specific: "I can't go there, Find It! Pound It! I can't see clear, Stomp It! Beat It!" are the lyrics.)
    • Played straight with the rest of the soundtrack. Seriously, ACFA loves this trope.
  • Ar tonelico is full of this. It even has an entire language used solely for this purpose. In fact, anything can be done with Ominous Latin Chanting: from attacking the enemies to remaking the world. The song "METHOD_REPLEKIA" is a good example of attacking an enemy; the moment you hear this song, their annihilation is assured to the wailing of a hundred epic bards.
  • Dance Dance Revolution; the song Xepher. To be precise, it's Ominous English Chanting, by a Japanese vocalist.
  • The Disgaea series generally includes a few songs with with some wordless singing in each title. "Pathos No. 7" and "Last World" from Disgaea 3 Absence of Justice and "Hold You Back" from Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten are particularly noteworthy examples, consisting almost entirely of wordless choir singing.
  • Civilization IV
    • "Justinian of Byzantium's diplomacy theme certainly qualifies... unless they're singing in Greek...
    • Beyond that, almost the entire Middle Ages soundtrack consists of REAL Gregorian chant.
    • Not to mention the opening theme to the second expansion pack Beyond the Sword consists of this. However, the previous expansion pack (Warlords) avoids this by using a Lebanese song sung in Arabic, while the original main theme more or less inverts this by having the main theme in very non-ominous Swahili, while being a rendition of the legitimately latin Lord's Prayer, no less.
  • Would you believe this trope can apply... to a boxing game? There are "aaaaahhh"s in the music when you fight Soda Popniski in Punch Out Wii.
  • Hitman
  • Blue Dragon
    • "The Seal Is Broken" from the final boss fight. Not sure exactly what language the music that plays during the Destroy battle is in, but it's ominous chanting. Oh, and Nobuo Uematsu is responsible for the game's music, so...
    • Lost Odyssey takes this a step further. There's Ominous Japanese Chanting, and then, half-way through the song, Ominous Japanese Rapping, and it is awesome.
  • The Ultramarines' Chant. Only one part sounds like it could vaguely be Latin-ish, the rest seems to be gibberish.
    • That's clearly High Gothic, which is represented in-universe by Latin mixed with English.
    • The original Dawn of War had a track simply named "Chant," which underscored your first encounter with the traitorous Chaos Marines.
      • Dawn of War: Winter Assault introduced us to the excellent Imperial Guard Theme, not to mention several variations. Most of these contain chanting of some sort.
    • Actually, this trope could apply to any form of media that takes place in the 40k-verse.
    • The soundtrack in the turn-based game Chaos Gate consists of almost nothing but this.
    • Appropriately for the setting, many of the music tracks in Dawn Of War feature ominous High Gothic or Eldar chanting.
  • Shadow Hearts has a recurring theme known as "ICARO", a term for a shamanic song dealing with removing baneful spirits from a person, which is chanted thusly.
  • Not sure if this counts, but Zealot Ganados from Resident Evil 4 like to walk around chanting such things as "¡Cogedlo! ¡Cogedlo!" and "Morir es vivir, morir es vivir" in deep or breathy voiced just before, or during their attacks.
    • Actually, they're speaking Spanish. "Morir es vivir" translates to "To die is to live" and "Cogedlo" means "Catch him".
  • The soundtrack for .hack//G.U. has a lot of Ominous German Chanting. Specific tracks include "Great Temple of Caerleon Medb:, "Wailing Capital Wald Uberlisterin", "Welcome to the World" and "Over the Mountains".
  • For a budget shooting game, Starfighter Sanvein has this for its "Mine" stage. However, exactly because it is a budget game, the Latin chanting is just...keyboard synths. But damn it if isn't awesome (starts at 00:27).
  • Much of the soundtrack to Alone in The Dark 2008 contains ominous chanting.
  • Syphon Filter: The Omega Strain uses ominous chants in several musics. Most prominently in the Chechen terrorist theme, which is in Russian-sounding Simlish.
  • Appropriately for the setting, many of the music tracks in Dawn of War feature ominous High Gothic or Eldar chanting.
  • In R-Type Final, the Final Boss music features an ominous Gregorian chant similar to the Halo theme. No words, of course. Also has ominous organ.
  • Okami has Ominous Japanese Buddhist Chanting in the theme of Oni Island, the Geisha Spider's battle music, anywhere this plays (that is, anywhere there is something evil), and anytime where you put your divinely lupine butt enters a cursed zone.
  • Tekken 6 has this trope everywhere, although not all of it is Latin. Azazel's Chamber and Fallen Colony are the primary examples.
  • Bayonetta, like Devil May Cry, has Christian/Roman Catholic symbolism out the wazoo, so it's only fitting that its soundtrack is all over this trope like jam on toast. The two best examples are the Final Boss theme and the fight against Balder.
  • Sam and Max: The Tomb of Sammun-Mak Parodies this trope with pig latin.
  • Italian instead of Latin, but the same basic premise fuels the Opera-style music and singing in the towns for Heros of Might and Magic 3, especially in the more villanous towns.
  • The intro of Gran Turismo 4 uses an orchestral version of "Moon over the Castle" with Italian chanting.
  • The Europa Universalis series and several other historical grand strategy games made by Paradox Interactive have this in spades. It's not always necessarily ominous, though.
  • The first half of "Xizor's Theme", and "The Destruction of Xizor's Palace", especially the part used in the Skyhook Battle, from Shadows of the Empire.
  • The menu music of the Star Wars: Republic Commando game is in Mando'a, the Mandalorian language. Translated, it's a Mandalorian battle poem, modified for the clones to be able to sing about their loyalty to the Republic.
  • Pokémon Black and White uses an ominous chorus chanting "Ghetsis" (or "Dennis") in its final boss.
  • Shin Megami Tensei Strange Journey has an extreme fondness for Ominous Demonese Chanting, as exemplified by the theme of Chaos.
  • Bionicle: The BIONICLE Music, played during the Toa Mata's battle against Makuta Teridax in the Mata Nui Online Game.
  • The final boss music in Super Meat Boy has this choir. The song is even called "Carmeaty Burana".
  • Left 4 Dead has the Tank's theme which plays whenever the ten foot tall-muscle bound zombie that can kill you in one punch appears. Not actually Latin, just a bunch of "Ohhhh"s, but still.
  • Drop Dead from Twisted Metal starts with a Carmina Burana-style chant. Even better is its remake from Twisted Metal Black. A few other Black musics also feature chanting.
  • "Moonquake" from Monster Hunter Tri has Ominous Indonesian Chanting. Fitting, since you're fighting an Elder Dragon which the locals see as a god.
  • The intro movie of Empire Earth II. That is all.
  • The final area in the first Silent Scope.
  • Guilty Gear 2: Overture gives us "Dignity", complete with Ominous Latin Chanting, played in the mission before the final fight against Valentine's One-Winged Angel form. "Sorcery" also has Ominous Latin Chanting, just wordless.
    • We also have "Awe of She", Dizzy's theme from various other Guilty Gear games in general, which, of course, unlike "Dignity", is also rock/metal music and, like "Sorcery", also has no words.
    • Then again, pretty much all of the final boss themes of the Guilty Gear Games have the "Ahh-ahh-ahh" kind of Ominous Latin Chanting at the beginning when they are first played.
  • Blaz Blue does the same thing as Guilty Gear with all the final boss themes, too, like "Awakening the Chaos", "Endless Despair", and "Sword of Doom".
    • Then there's the ominous tune "Curse", another wordless Ominous Latin Chanting song that plays when Take-mikazuchi fires its laser beam down on and destroys a random heirarchial city and when Hazama turns Noel into Mu all the while mocking her attempts to resist him.
    • Another song that also uses wordless Ominous Latin Chanting at the beginning is "RIOT", which plays on different occasions like when Rachel deflects Take-mikazuchi's blast to defend Kagutsuchi, when Hazama/Yuuki Terumi collects the souls of many Librarium soldiers to feed to the cauldron he is transforming Noel into Mu within, and in Noel's Gag Reel when the Blaz Blue cast is ordering the Kagutsuchi puffer fish simmered in peppers and spices from Noel and Carl, who are currently running the restaurant as the current chef and waiter.
  • Rosenkreuzstilette features "Dark Purple Moonlight", the theme for Grolla's stage, "Dark Purple Moon ~ Dance of the Moon ~ Rebirth", the theme played when Spiritia talks with Grolla, when you encounter her now-undead grandfather Raimund, and in the options and replay sections of Rosenkreuzstilette Grollschwert, and "Fighting Eternally", the theme when you fight Graf Michael Sepperin. All three have no words, just "Aahh-aahh-aahh".
    • Zorne's talk theme "Sinner" also counts as having wordless Ominous Latin Chanting as well, mixing it with heavy metal, orchestra, and church organ sounds, making it one of the most ominous songs in Rosenkreuzstilette. Strangely enough, it centers on such a short-tempered, impulsive, and moody young girl who would do anything for her adoptive father, and not on a true villain of the Doujin franchise like Iris, her adoptive sister.
  • Return to Krondor has five music tracks that can qualify as this. The first track plays whenever the Tear of the Gods appears, even though the chanting in the tracks sounds more peaceful than ominous. The second track, which definitely sounds like a singing church choir, plays when the characters fight against a demon, death nagas, and shadows. The third track, which has some choir singing in it, plays when a group of vampires are finally vanquished and in one battle when a fake priest revives dead townspeople as zombies. The fourth track, containing some ominous chanting, plays when a vision of an evil wizard opening a portal for a dark god is shown and when one character has a nightmare of his murdered girlfriend. The fifth track, consisting entirely of ominous chanting, plays during some fights in the second last chapter and during a fight with a dragon soul in the final chapter. Sadly, this troper has no idea what words are being uttered, let alone what they mean. If anyone knows what is being said, and what meaning they have, please do not hesistate to explain.
  • Nie R absolutely loves this trope. 90% of the soundtrack is ominous chanting in several different languages, and the other 10% falls under Ethereal Choir or One-Woman Wail.
    • The languages are actually all made up. They were intended to sound like different extant languages, but after about a millenium or so of linguistic evolution.
  • Persona 2 has Knights of the Holy Lance, which happens to play towards the end, where Hitler is summoned, oh boy oh boy, along with anytime you fight a Longinus 13 member.
  • "Revival of the Ark/Return of the Great Vortex" from Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim, whose chanting sounds similar to "O Fortuna". "Collapse of the Ark" and "Zeme's Protection" also use it. All are awesome.
  • Slightly subverted for the final boss theme from Death Smiles IIX. Never before has a latin chanting final boss theme sounded so jolly and happy.
  • In Xenoblade Chronicles this trope is applied for the two themes when the party battles Zanza.
  • Time Crisis 4's main theme. And even better, the final battle music.
  • MediEvil (1998 video game) gets its own in the Hilltop Mausoleum level.
  • Asura's Wrath, taking Influence from Hindu Mythology and Buddhism, has Ominous Buddhist/Hindu chanting, with a few tracks like these:


Web Original

  • Red vs. Blue has Agent Carolina's theme, which features Ominous Italian Chanting:

 Morte ai nostri nemici (death to our enemies)

Morte ai nostri nemici (death to our enemies)

La tua guerra e persa (your war is lost)

Nonpuoi distruggere (you can not destroy us)


Web Comics


Western Animation

  • South Park
    • Parodied in the episode "Damien", the son of Satan's arrival in town is accompanied by a choir of voices chanting "Rectus Dominus Cheesy Poofs" -- which is obviously supposed to be Canis Latinicus for "Ass Master, Cheesy Poofs" can actually be translated as "Straight master, Cheesy Poofs".
    • The episode "Fantastic Easter Adventure", which spoofs both The Da Vinci Code and the Easter holiday, featured a pseudo-Latin version of "Here Comes Peter Cottontail" that memorably includes the phrase "Hippitus, Hoppitus".
    • "Britney's New Look" had the characters chanting ominous Latin.
  • Pinky, Elmyra and The Brain have a humorous take on this when an episode has a secret conspiracy Christopher Walken look-alike. His appearance was preceded by chanting of an incongruous group of words, always ending in "Lactose!" I.E. "Rialto, Ontario, Gluteus Maximus, LACTOSE!"
  • A Robot Chicken parody of Final Fantasy VII set at a fast food restaurant featured Sephiroth make his entrance with the background music being a parody of One Winged Angel but with the chorus chanting "HAMBURGER! HAMBURGER!"
  • In the Courage the Cowardly Dog episode "Mega Muriel the Magnificent", Ode to Joy plays whenever Muriel, possessed by Courage's Deadpan Snarker computer, attempts a death-defying stunt in front of a crowd of spectators. Could also be an example of Soundtrack Dissonance, considering Ode to Joy's melody is, for lack of better wording, joyous. On the other hand, since Muriel pulls off some pretty awesome stuff, it does fit a bit.
  • Spoofed in Invader Zim with "Meats of Evil".
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • The Lion Turtle's appearance is heralded by ominous Japanese chanting of the Pure Land Buddhist prayer mantra "Nianfo". He's not a bad guy though. Just old, wise, mysterious, a bit scary, and very big.
    • The same chant appeared on two other occasions: once when Roku came back on the Winter Solstice to kick some Fire Nation ass, and another time when Aang fused with the Ocean Spirit to form a spectacular One-Winged Angel and kick some more Fire Nation ass.
  • Spoofed in The Simpsons when Marge recalls that she accidentally had a single drop of wine while pregnant with Bart. As the foetus acquires spiky hair and a devilish expression, the Background Music plays an Ominous Chant of "Ay Caramba!"
  • The title theme music to the animated Silver Surfer series had Latin-sounding singing interspersed at ominous points against the instrumental background.
  • The Invader Zim episode "Gaz, Taster of Pork" featured cues of a chorus singing "Pork! Pork! Pork!" and later, "Piggy-piggy-piggy-piggy..."
  • American Dad: "O Fortuna" plays during a suspenseful scene in which Francine nearly walks in on Stan's date with Rosie Palms. Doubles as Crowning Music of Awesome.
  • In the 2003 version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the Shredder has his own self-titled (as shown on the TMNT 2003 cartoon website) music that plays whenever he appears as his fully-armored alias. It uses wordless Ominous Latin Chanting at both the beginning and at the end whenever it's played, unless it's shortened for some occasions. There are also other different variations of this ominous tune, and on some occasions, this tune and some of its variations also use the Japanese samurai-inspired "yoo" sound.
  • The Spectacular Spider-Man. Mysterio's spells are all Latin, however they are nonsense phrases when translated. They sure sound ominous though.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball:

 Bacteria! It all began with one!

Bacteria! Two is what we then become!

Bacteria! Each of us becomes two more!

Bacteria! We become stronger than before!

Bacteria! We keep growing at this rate!

Bacteria! No longer shall we wait!

Bacteria! As our plan unfolds!

Bacteria! We will take over the world! (Rocky sprays the toilet bowl with disinfectant)

Notes

  1. ;Granted, if you ask the Catholic Church, magic is power not from God, making all magic the equivalent of idolatry.
  2. On the other hand, topping even that pedantry would be to point out that the word "chant" ultimately derives from the Latin cantare, "to sing," meaning that the name is appropriate after all.
  3. It appears to also be Madara's theme as well, given it played both when he revealed himself and when he made his entrance at the Kage Summit.
  4. It's basically a medieval college student complaining about how life isn't fair, possibly prompted by a loss at the gambling table.
  5. "Destroyer"
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